The endometriosis diet

Through my blog the healing yogi I will be sharing the diet that works for me, it reduces pain, I feel less bloated and clearer mentally. From my nutrition studies I have learned that variety in the diet is key to optimal health, when you remove something from your diet (for example, dairy or wheat) you need to replace it with something else that’s going to provide the nutrients your body needs to thrive. From experience I have learned to listen to my body, if something doesn’t agree, then I remove it.

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The endometriosis diet usually consists of eliminating the following:

Processed food

  • Packaged meals and snacks.
  • Food and drinks with added chemicals, additives or sweeteners.
  • Refined flour, grains and sugar.
  • Smoked or processed meats.
  • All the above should be eliminated as it is difficult to breakdown, lacking in nutrients and inflammatory.

Soy

  • Tofu should be the number one soy product to avoid, as raw, unfermented soy is difficult for the body to break down. Soy is often genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides.
  • It is best to avoid soy products in all forms as it contains isoflavones which can increase estrogen levels.

Alcohol and caffeine

  • Health wise, there is nothing good about alcohol, it is difficult for your body to process and highly inflammatory. Eliminate completely or indulge on special occasions only. Caffeine is inflammatory and triggers pain or ‘flare-ups’, I have removed it from my diet and feel much better for it.

Red meat

  • Red meat is difficult to digest, high in saturated fat and it can be inflammatory due to the level of Omega 6 fatty acids vs. Omega 3 fatty acids, however it does depend on the animals diet. If you choose to occasionally indulge, stick to organic grass fed red meat and choose a small palm sized portion. Personally I abstain, I feel better health wise and ethically I believe it’s the right decision.

 Dairy

  • Similar story to red meat, dairy can be high in Omega 6 fatty acids, contain hormones and can be difficult to digest, however, yoghurt is an exceptional source of protein, calcium and good bacteria which is great for digestive health. If you feel okay after eating yoghurt I would suggest keeping it in your diet, I stick to organic, unsweetened yoghurt or kefir yoghurt.

 Gluten

  •  Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, bulgur, farro, spelt and oats. Gluten is difficult to digest and most women with endometriosis are sensitive to wheat or gluten. Personally I can tolerate small amounts of these if they are wholegrains (unprocessed) and organic, but again, find out what works for you, try eliminating from your diet then slowly re-introducing them to see how your body reacts.

Vegetable oil

  • Oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower and corn should be avoided. Products containing trans-fatty acids should be completely eliminated as they are highly inflammatory and linked to heart disease and cancer.

So what should you include in your diet? I always try to buy organic and reduce the chemicals going into my body. Below is a list of what to include in the endometriosis diet:

Vegetables

  • Eat the rainbow! Different vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least 5 serves a day.

Fruit

  • Can be high in sugar but an essential part of a healthy diet, aim for 2 serves a day.

Wholegrains

  • Brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat are my staples. Nutrient and fibre rich they are a perfect accompaniment to a curry or stir fry.

Eggs

  • Always organic, free-range. Eggs that aren’t organic can contain hormones and pesticides, that’s the last thing your body needs! Eggs are one of the best sources of protein along with other essential nutrients. Organic, pasture fed chickens produce eggs that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory.

Fish

  • Aim for oily fish that is high in Omega 3 such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Tinned salmon is a great option but choose a BPA free tin. I try to eat organic fish that hasn’t been farmed. I also try to avoid eating fish that is high in mercury (large predator fish such as swordfish, shark and blue fin tuna).

Poultry

  • If you choose to include poultry in your diet, go for organic chicken and only eat a palm size portion. Chicken from factory farms can be loaded with nasty hormones and chemicals.

Nuts and seeds

  • Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Walnuts, cashews and sesame seeds are some of my favourites.

Healthy oils and spreads

  • Cold pressed olive oil, has a low smoke point so use for low heat cooking or as a salad dressing.
  • Avocado oil, and avocado as a spread alternative to margarine.
  • Rice bran oil which has a high smoke point.
  • Coconut oil, has a high smoke point, but is high in saturated fat so only use in small amounts.
  • Nut butters are a healthy spread alternative.
  • Of course there are more than this, but this is a good starting point.

Water

  • Try to drink 1.5-2 litres a day, it helps with digestion and helps to flush out toxins. Herbal teas such as spearmint, peppermint and chamomile are hydrating and fantastic for digestive health.

Try not to feel overwhelmed with all the information, the best advice I can offer is to keep it simple and stick to eating things that resemble their original form, so exclude processed food and stick to healthy wholefoods. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

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